Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 2120–2131 | Cite as

Nitrate trends in groundwater of the Campania region (southern Italy)

  • Daniela DucciEmail author
  • Renata Della Morte
  • Adolfo Mottola
  • Giuseppe Onorati
  • Giovanni Pugliano
Groundwater under threat from diffuse contaminants: improving on-site sanitation, agriculture and water supply practices


The Environmental Protection Agency of the Campania region in Italy (ARPAC) manages a groundwater quality monitoring network. For almost all the polluted waters, the key parameter driving the classification is the concentration of nitrate; hence, the Campania region, in coherence with the EU regulations, outlined the vulnerable areas and undertook remediation policies. The best groundwater quality is recorded for carbonate aquifers of the Apennine chain; on the contrary, the Tyrrhenian coastal plains are affected by severe contamination, with a locally very contaminated groundwater of the shallow and also the deeper aquifers. The study is especially focused on a large coastal plain of Campania region, where nitrate concentration sometimes exceeds 200 mg/L. The study, based on almost 200 sampling points for the whole region during the period 2003–2015 (approx two samples per year), verified the effectiveness of the groundwater monitoring network, the present distribution of nitrate in groundwater, and the evolution of nitrate trends at different scales: regional, groundwater body, and single well, using spatial and time series statistical approaches. Significant variations in contamination evolution within the study area have been observed and the correlation with land use has been highlighted.


Groundwater monitoring Groundwater body Nitrate pollution Nitrate trends Agricultural land use Campania region 



We would like to thank the Editor Dr. Philippe Garrigues and the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments and suggestions, which allowed us to improve the presentation of the results of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental EngineeringUniversità degli Studi di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly
  2. 2.Department of EngineeringUniversità degli Studi di Napoli ParthenopeNaplesItaly
  3. 3.Regional Environmental Protection Agency Campania RegionNaplesItaly

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